I Am The Blog

The latest property news from your online estate agent.

UK landlords ‘face more red tape’ after Queens Speech - but not when using I Am The Agent

One of the twenty bills set out during the Queen’s speech will see landlords legally responsible for the immigration status of their tenants. They will also be susceptible to hefty fines should tenants passports and visas not be checked thoroughly.

This new bill has caused a certain amount of outrage as many in the property industry feel that they are being made responsible for something that the UK Border Agency should carry sole responsibility for. Is it fair that this should be put on landlords?

Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA) seems to welcome the bill saying: ‘Every landlord should thoroughly reference a tenant prior to offering a tenancy.’

This is correct. As an online letting agent, I Am The Agents emphasises the importance of thorough credit checking to ensure that any potential tenant is not only in a position to pay the rent and has a proven record of financial accountability but is also able to provide accurate data on their immigration status should one be needed.

Estate agents and landlords must be vigilant about obtaining copies of passports and visas along with any other document needed to ensure every tenant is legally allowed to rent long term accommodation in the UK.

We think the fine might be what is getting a lot of people upset. Vetting tenants as thoroughly as possible is essential in our industry but having to pay thousands of pounds may be what's daunting many landlords and agents. When using an experienced letting or online estate agent to provide a comprehensive referencing service this really should not be an issue. In fact it's already standard to do background checks to cover all of this information.

Here are some handy tips to help landlords:

• Always check passports fully. Within the passport there should be a visa issued for the United Kingdom as either a student, working or holiday. You need to check this and ensure the visit date does not expire before the tenancy!
• We always advise landlords to obtain a comprehensive credit reference for anyone who is staying in the property. Our online referencing is just £49.99 and covers: affordability, credit history employment and past landlord reference. This is providedboth verbally and in writing. We provide you with a PDF copy of this document to store and a check list of what ID to obtain from your potential tenant
• Always set up a direct debit from a UK bank account, do not take cash or overseas payments
• Always prepare a comprehensive Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. We prepare this for you and organise signatures via email or hard copy, it's so simple and just £65 inc VAT
• I Am The Agent uses a comprehensive credit check that along with the collection of passport and visa documents covers all aspects of tenant referencingto put landlords and tenants at ease.

If you cover all bases you will protect yourself and your property. At I Am The Agent, our team are all experienced property managers and or experienced letting agents. Unlike other online estate agencies we are not automated, so we can vet enquiries and help with all aspects of your let to ensure you are protected!

To help out I Am The Agent are offering one free reference check worth £49.99 on every lettings order of £99 until the end of May 2013. Just mention it on your order and we will do the rest.


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